"The latest figures published by the Department
of Census and Statistics has put the number of fully-damaged
housing units after the tsunami at 41,303 and partly damaged
housing units at 36, 168 which add up to a total of 77,561,"
said Presidential advisor and chairman, Task Force for
Rebuilding the nation (TAFREN) Mano Tittawela, speaking at a
media conference in Colombo recently organised by TAFREN and
TAFOR (Task Force for Relief). He said, "rebuilding such a large
number of houses in a short time is a daunting task, since the
total number of houses constructed in the entire country per
year, adds up to about four to eight thousand only.
"Providing houses for all the Tsunami-effected
families has to be done in three different stages. The first was
the provision of emergency shelters, without delay for nearly
96,000 people in 263 camps. Many were given tents since these
were the easiest to obtain, transport and install. The second
stage is to move each family to a transitional house. These take
longer to build, but are more comfortable and can be used until
permanent houses are constructed. Four months after the tsunami,
we have provided 15,470 families with transitional houses, which
are currently under construction. The third stage is the
building of permanent houses, which is a longer process," he
"We have received pledges form 194 donors for a
total of about 97,000 permanent housing unites. 159 MoUs have
already been signed with 71, donors for 34,000 units.
Construction work has already begun on 2,325 permanent houses,"
Tittalwela went on. He also said, "damage assessment teams have
already been deployed in the affected districts, depending on
the extent of the damage. Grants of Rs. 100,000 to 250,000 are
made available to tsunami-affected families to rebuild their
houses. So far, 5,476 eligible households have received their
first instalment of Rs. 50,000/- through the State Banks."
He also said, "TAFOR and TAFREN were formed to
accelerate post - tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction in
all affected sectors, including housing by engaging the primary
stockholders, the tsunami affected, whose houses and livelihoods
need construction without delay. Donor Agencies that have
pledged funds for housing and other necessary facilities and
implementing organisations, such as NGOs, government ministries
and Agencies that are carrying out the reconstruction work.
"To ensure the smooth implementation of the
rehabilitation process, projects in Tsunami affected areas, the
conflict areas, too, should be considered with equal
importance," Divisional secretary, Jaffna, K. Ganesh said.
M. A. Piyasena, District Secretary (DS)
Hambantota, V. Shanmugam, DS Batticaloa, H. G. Jayasekera, DS
Matara, Ms. Sheehan, Chief-of-Mission, International
Organisation for Migration, Juliana Fernando, Director, Finance
and Administration Plan, Sri Lanka were also present at the
The panel included: Ranavirajah chairman, TAFOR,
Lalith Weeratunge, board member, TAFREN Hewage, secretary,
ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply, Dr. Batagoda,
CEO, Tsunami Housing, Reconstruction Unit, (THRU) and Ms. Myrna
Evera, country director, Plan Sri Lanka.